The Real Deal New York

Floored lets landlords be their own architects

New product Protofit marks change in startup's strategy

September 28, 2015 09:00AM
By Konrad Putzier

floored david eisenberg

Protofit interace (inset: David Eisenberg)

UPDATED: Sep. 28, 10:26 a.m.: Floored, the startup best known for its interactive 3D models of office space, is launching a new product that lets landlords draw their own commercial test fits, hoping to offer a cheaper alternative to architecture firms.

The move is a significant change in strategy for the three-year-old Chelsea-based real estate tech startup, which previously relied on customized 3D floor models for its revenue.

The new software, dubbed Protofit, allows landlords to draw chairs, tables and separation walls with a few clicks using built-in templates. By the end of the year, Floored plans to add a feature that automatically converts these floor plans into 3D renderings.

The idea, according to Floored’s co-founder and CEO David Eisenberg, is to allow landlords to show – rather than just describe to – prospective tenants how a space might look like in the early stages of the leasing process without having to commission test fits from an architecture firm. Protofit’s annual subscription fees range from $4,000 to $40,000, depending on the size of the building.

“What Protofit does is it enables you to do something you’ve never done before,” Eisenberg said. “It replaces the cost you spend on a personalized plan, which is too prohibitive today.”

For Floored, the new product is also an implicit admission that its previous business model couldn’t produce the desired growth.

Founded in 2012, the firm has raised $6.3 million in venture funding, won over clients like Vornado Realty Trust and Related Companies, and claims to be profitable. But Eisenberg found that many smaller and mid-sized landlords were reluctant to splash out for Floored’s bespoke 3D floor plans. He hopes that Protofit will bring in a larger client pool, but added that Floored will continue to offer customized 3D-models.

As the New York real estate tech startup scene matures, a lot of its early successes have been forced to evolve. Compass launched in 2012 with salaried “neighborhood specialists,” but then pivoted to become more of a traditional brokerage. And Honest Buildings started as a sort of LinkedIn for construction professionals, but later morphed into a software platform primarily aimed at landlords.

Correction: An earlier version of this post included an incorrect figure for the amount of venture funding Floored has raised.